* Posts by colinb

184 posts • joined 23 Oct 2014


Is your kid looking at GCSE in computer science? It's exam-only from 2022 – Ofqual


Re: "...programming skills assessed only via examination..."

depends on what you mean by 'very old days'

in the early eighties our school programming course was paper only with the joy of 30 kids standing around the single terminal of the DEC PDP/11 housing in a room the size of a bathroom once a week watching a lucky suck-up (pupil) type the program in and seeing if it worked.

Still loved it so i got the principal to agree to let me in early in the morning, boot the computer, play with it and then have the room key back by 9. it took 10 minutes to boot up...

Office 365 enjoys good old-fashioned Thursday wobble as email teeters over in Europe


Re: well...

yes but no one relies on this site for getting work done..

quite the opposite

edit: ah forgot about the BOFH training material

Slack to fend off the collaboration competition with... a new logo



Wow, looks like teletubby vomit.

Got rid of the Hash? These guys look to be smoking copious amounts of the stuff.

HSBC suggests it might have found a... use for blockchain?


$250,000 are you sure?

This is barely a rounding error on the rounding error in banks.

Other sources like the FT has it as

3m FX transactions worth $250bn thats billioooooon

I tend to read these puffs pieces as: our internal tech is shit, really shit, we done this other thing that that everyone is talking about and is less shit.

Aren't we great.

The D in SystemD stands for Dammmit... Security holes found in much-adored Linux toolkit


i told you so inbound

in 1 | 2 | 3 ......

Who cracked El Chapo's encrypted chats and brought down the Mexican drug kingpin? Er, his IT manager


Re: Hmmm ...

Or have 500+ connection requests, mainly hit men.

But if they did connect they would annually receive a 'congratulate Cristian on x years in witness protection' emails

London's Gatwick airport suspends all flights after 'multiple' reports of drones


no joking matter

I doubt this is terrorism of the global type e.g. ISIS, if they had really wanted to do this i suspect they would have taken out Heathrow and Birmingham as well.

With 3 airports down the sheer stacking delays could have caused emergency landings due to lack of fuel.

Yes they carry extra but as the Ryanair Spanish incident has shown some cut it as low as they can get away with.

As a frequent Gatwick flyer my sympathies to those affected.

Oh and Gatwick, buy some frikin Megaphones for god's sake. Talking to the first 5 people in a queue is brain dead.

Musk's popstar girlfriend Grimes croons about next-gen AI, plus more machine-learning news


Re: AI representation


UKFast mulls putting IPO on ice due to six little letters: BREXIT


Re: forthcoming meetings in the next few weeks "will shed more light on the situation"

Well there is the vote on Dec 11.

If the Gov lose they have no authority so sign the Deal with the EU so unless something changes its a hard Brexit come March.

If they do lose something else will probably happen but we don't know what that is, yet.

I'm stockpiling Popcorn...

Facebook spooked after MPs seize documents for privacy breach probe


Off to the tower with Zuck

A live stream of the torture, eh sorry, interview would be nice.

Crime is Treason, betrayal of the country and populace via mass slurpage and sellage

That sphincter-flexing moment for devs when it's time to go live


Re: Experience is a harsh teacher

Pretty much this ^^

Inhouse development is different as you can sometimes amortize what's needed for true testing over multiple projects, if brought in on off projects you are in trouble, it goes like this

Go-Live dates and feature lists are not normally set by the worker techs.

They are told 'here are 200 features that have to be in day 1' (often not this simple, see Agile)

Then they are told when day 1 is, at some point in the project.

There can be any number of reasons this date is picked: could be a post year end period, all company presentation, 'quiet period', Christmas, end of life date on previous product, IPO date, astrologer says so etc..

Load testing is then put at number 201 on the list, some people churn happens on the project, it never happens.

The above list is fine in a perfect world, you will be lucky if you are ever on a project that can do it.

'Unjustifiably excessive': Not even London cops can follow law with their rubbish gang database


Help me out here

When they say 'Gang' is this just a 'database' of mainly black men on the street?

I mean, does it include the often white gangs involved in Drug dealing, Burglary, Fraud, Money Laundering etc..

Does it also include the gangs who like to bombard old people with charity requests, leading to suicide in some cases.

The Pension management fraud gangs? on average victims lose around £91,000

Just trying to get a grip on whether this is THE one true Gang Matrix or really the 'Black Street Gang Matrix'

Palliative care for Windows 10 Mobile like a Crimean field hospital, but with even less effort


plan of action

back of shed,

single bullet,

spade, quicklime,

shallow grave,


DXC: Everything is going to plan, too well in fact... we've chopped so many staff, our IT projects are now behind


Glug Glug

Goes the drain

Top AI conference NIPS won't change its name amid growing protest over 'bad taste' acronym


To be fair

NIPS rolls off the tongue a lot better than mcubed

A web where the user has complete control of their data? Sounds Solid, Tim Berners-Lee


Re: Would have been helpful...

Seem to be trying to leverage fairly out of fashion concepts like RDF.

Fair enough but unless it has a way to encrypt and split your data across multiple locations with only you able to decrypt or provide tokens for certain elements plus some revenue model via ad or micropay mechanism i don't see this as being that radical.

I've argued with relatives about avoiding Facebook due to its narrowing of the web and data slurping and its only recently they have any inkling of what i was warning about.

Facebook is massive due to ignorance and laziness and until evolution removes both there will always be a Facebook of some kind or other for the masses, long long after i'm gone.

Microsoft wants to cart your data away in a box and punt it onto Azure


Careful with that box Eugene

The cost for a lost or damaged Data Box Heavy device is £186,327.25!

Linux kernel's 'seat warmer' drops 4.19-rc5 with – wow – little drama


Re: Who are these people

My main point is if you sup with the Devil use a long spoon.

Corporate dominance of Linux has made this dumb CoC inevitable when it really should have had one line

'You can and will be judged solely on your code quality' .

Anyway popcorn at the ready for the really talented people to fork off a little baby Linux.


Re: Who are these people

I mean someone working for Intel who gets a Linus blast might trot to HR for a chat about people being mean to them and that has implications for a corporate sponsor.

Someone working from home on their own time might trot to the Fridge for a beer.

There seems to be a myth of plucky amateurs at play here, probably true for Distros but 90% untrue for the Kernel.


Who are these people

"They signed on to participate in a meritocracy with reputation rewards"


Isn't the stat that >90% of Linux kernel patches are from for-profit corps (your IBM, Google, Red Hat etc..)so it could well be devs with such a goal and maybe hired into the Corp but also a lot of people just doing their job.

That will colour what they think is acceptable or not.

30-up: You know what? Those really weren't the days


Re: "you were seriously stuck up a gum tree"

Jake, sure it was '85? I don't remember it untl the 90's and wikipedia has it as '95.

Dejanews used NNTP and that RFC was only written in 86

'Men only' job ad posts land Facebook in boiling hot water with ACLU


Sourcing jobs from Facebook?

"thus excluding users outside of the selected groups from learning about these opportunities"

I'm all for giving these retarded companies a kicking but why over-egg your case with fake bombast.

If you really want to be surrounded by people with no life experience and even less morals here you go:



Redis does a Python, crushes 'offensive' master, slave code terms


Re: They should ask Torvalds to rename git.

Indeed, and while he is at it the word Pull is quite aggessive, it should be renamed GentlyPluck

UK.gov's no-deal plans leave HMRC customs, VAT systems scrambling to keep up


Re: Annual?

Ok thanks, that link applies to goods, services have their own rules.

There is a link for services on that site https://www.belastingdienst.nl/wps/wcm/connect/bldcontenten/belastingdienst/business/vat/vat_in_the_netherlands/vat_relating_to_services/reverse-charging_vat

That implies reverse charging still applies for in-bound services.

It could be nothing changes, fine by me.



Do you have a link for that? Most VAT returns like mine are quarterly.

Annual returns are for businesses of under 1.3M turnover and AFAIK you still make payments on account through the year, targeted i guess for small businesses that do not reclaim a lot and have little change in monthly cashflow patterns.

Currently i work for an EU based company and invoice EU reverse charge VAT. I have no clue how this will work post March 2019 and currently it seems nobody else does either.

Gartner's Great Vanishing: Some of 2017's emerging techs just disappeared


Just means

Even Gartner can't be bothered to check what they said last year.

I quite like the fact they exist, everytime someone in a meeting mentions the Gartner Quadrant, Circle or Insight they lose a point in the 'Do they have a clue or not' game.

but nevermind that, where's LESTER on this chart? the Vat of Joy?

BBC websites down tools and head outside into the sun for a while


Why don't you just

switch off your websites and go out and do something less boring instead

Capita strikes again: Bug in UK-wide school info management system risks huge data breach


good question

It comes down to the commissioner needing scale and have no way to critically evaluate if they are any good and can deliver.

Why they can't Google the trail of disasters i don't know but again most of the failures are kept well hidden.

Take Amey for example, they have recently taken to doing council waste services but did not have any capacity to do food or garden waste.

Still got the contract, guess what, there are a lot of maggot infested bins and uncollected garden waste.

Trump wants to work with Russia on infosec. Security experts: lol no


Re: Tee hee. Trump is to Putin as --

What are you on about? The US has a food poisoning rate of 14.7%

"CDC estimates that each year 48 million people get sick from a foodborne illness, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die."

The UK rate is just ~1.6% of the population.

That the UK and EU have better food safety than the US is a simple fact.

Drawing an equivalence between official standards and 'horsemeat as meat' which was a criminal act is dumb especially as it was caught and traced due to the testing regime.

Which of course is one of the things which the Brexit elites would love to remove if given a chance.

'Toxic' Whitehall power culture fingered for GDS's fall from grace


"Hire 50 people under 30 who know what an API is"

That's what GDS was full of. Unfortunately they didn't hire a single person of any age who knew what 'Integration' was.

They ignored all the 'difficult to do' and 'requires knowledge' backend stuff and just skinned the frontend using the latest fad on hackernews.

Only going to be taken seriously by the clueless.

UK.gov IT projects that are failing: Verify. Border control. 4G for blue-light services. We can go on


Re: [Sniff][Sniff]

They should lose 1% of their pension for every 1 million project overspend. Project Budgets aligned to market rates of course.

Only way to change the failure merry-go-round

UK taxman warned it's running out of time to deliver working customs IT system by Brexit


System changes in December and January?

No company i know in the food business at least makes Prod systems changes in December, its a total change freeze normally from start of December through Christmas/New Year until second week of January at the earliest.

This has all the signs of a disaster in the making.

MSDN unleashes a fresh round of unintentional innuendo bingo


'Knob' rolls off the tongue

Parameter doesn't

Universal Credit has never delivered bang for buck, but now there's no turning back – watchdog


Re: uk.gov IT

There are too many WTF's per square inch in this this project for my brain to handle.

Scrapping Brit cap on nurses, doctors means more room for IT folk


The VISA's cover a lot more than doctors but there is no shortage of people wanting to get into the medical profession, there is a ratio of at least 10:1 on admissions to medical schools.

Plus you need a lot of money and top grades to even have a chance given the capacity limit.

The medical profession is closed shop and train exactly the number they want to train, in fact a request to train more is called over-training as this article from a couple of years ago shows (http://careers.bmj.com/careers/advice/Why_don%E2%80%99t_we_train_more_doctors_than_we_need%3F)

Given there were shortages then, that is bonkers.

It costs the NHS £700,000 to train a consultant from day 1 in medical school. However no one lays out the cost of getting contractors and agency staff in which no doubt over a few years would add up to a lot more.

You could increase capacity and tie grants to working in certain areas for certain periods of time. This is not new (see Northern Exposure TV show).

Short termism has infected the NHS from the private sector and i suspect the larger % of women has not been factored in for availability as they need more part time flexibility.

The system is also under strain due to the government cutting back community care.

There is no excuse for this, the aging population demographic has been highlighted since the frickin 90s.

No planning is the same as Sh*t planning

UK Home Office hands Sopra Steria £91m digital visa contract


Re: Its just not right

Sopra Steria has UK sites, like IBM the american company has, so presume when you say UK company you mean UK owned companies?

Where are these wholly owned UK companies that you think are capable of doing that contract?

There are just 2 UK owned software companies in the FTSE 100, Micro Focus ( the old peoples home of software) and Sage (worst SDK i've ever used)

For IT Consulting in UK the largest are PWC, E&Y and Deloitte. The tend to sub contract to contractors for the tough stuff.

the rest include Altran, Atos, CapGemini, Sogeti and Sopra Steria all of Paris, France. Then the like of Accenture, Dublin and Indra, Spain (of TSB fame)

There are a number of 100-200 person companies in the UK that would do custom software but frankly they probably don't have the financial buffer they would need to deal with the Government garbage they will have to sort through, least of all for a urgent project within the next 12 months.

You think Brexit will improve this?

When May says a 'Free and Open Economy' what do you think that means? It means everything is for sale at a price.

Autonomy ex-CFO Hussain guilty of fraud: He cooked the books amid $11bn HP gobble


in this case, both sides are right

Autonomy for putting lipstick on the pig.

HP for not noticing it was a pig.

if dev == woman then dont_be(asshole): Stack Overflow tries again to be more friendly to non-male non-pasty coders


Seems people now want permission to waste other peoples time

On StackOverflow people give up their free time to post answers to questions. Its full of people who have taken time to learn their craft, and then help others, yes and gain kudos while doing it.

It has people like Jon Skeet who has written books on c# etc...

Now this seems to be a whinge from people who don't like the competition element and the fact there are some rules to follow. There are reputation points and badges on nearly every social site.

SO is full of people who like to look smart, so what, you have no right to waste their time, do your homework and join in, or don't, your call your loss.

In my early Dev days i posted one of my first posts ever, a question on the Compuserve SQL forum. I was a newbie and knew very little about SQL and was using Access.

A guy I'd never heard of called Joe Celko answered and ripped into me, Access was a piece of crap, non standard SQL etc.. but he did answer the question.

Did i cry, report him to the Mod, log off forever. Nope, i asked some more questions, then a lot more. Turns out Joe Celko was involved in writing some of the SQL specs and had an answer to every question, he told me how to do hierarchies in SQL, and yes it worked even in Access, access to people like that is Gold.

These folks seem to have been failed badly by their parents if the slightest suggestion of something negative is a problem to them.

Paperback writer? Microsoft slaps patents on book-style gadgetry with flexible display


It took me years to write, will you take a look?

Just give me a laptop with a fold out screen, one that doesn't dislocate my shoulder.

Tech bribes: What's the WORST one you've ever been offered?


Re: One from the vaults...

"Pretend we like you and are interested in what you're selling"

"Fingering of any mole within your company"

HaHa class.

Bring back Regmiles. Can't be more useless than Avios.

Blighty stuffs itself in Galileo airlock and dares Europe to pull the lever


Re: If this was....

Services > "Finance Services". Finance is now only 6.5% of GBP, it was 10% pre bust, that's why its climbing back. oh yeah, 44% of finance exports are to the EU.

You get the difference between a finance product and a person.

Services are mostly people, consultants, waiters, leisure etc.. People are not widgets and cannot be duplicated and packed off for export.

There is nothing stopping a EU country matching Germany for exports today, apart from planning and vision.

"Are you suggesting the members of the EU could solve their unemployment problems by offering 0hr contracts?"

0hr contracts are are scam, gives an illusion of employment and inflicted on people who can least choose not to take them. Flexible working does not require 0hr contracts but suits employers of course.


Re: If this was....


- The UK growth is predicted to be the slowest in the G20! not even the G7 for gods sake. your rant on the comparisons to the EU economy is irelevant. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-43384718

- The Services sector make up 79% of UK GBP. Services are hard to export.

- To trade you need to produce things people want.

- Manufacturing and Farming needs to grow for exports to grow, how will that happen with Full Employment and lower immigration.

- There is full employment, but full of 0 hours contracts.

- The new royal baby has been given a french name.

- Trump has not been invited to the Royal Wedding.

All of these things may be related, or not related at all.

The Black Knight in Monty Python was supposed to be satire, not a handbook.


Re: What planet are you on?

Apart from that fact it was a province of England, Marshall law was in force, that was no home rule, civilians were shot at a football match and the rebels were executed, yeah it's just like that.

GitLab crawling back online after breaking its brain in two


Re: GitLab the incompetent startup, relying on their free-tier (slurping) Azure Cloud

Eh, the primary problem here is Postgres, presume you ignore that since its OSS and can do no wrong.

GitLab have long moved off Azure as they had a large IOPS requirement (200000) that didn't match what Azure could provide. They admit they didn't do the basic math before moving onto it so it was always going to fail.

Use the best cloud for your use cases if you can. If you have massive IOPS requirements the cloud might not be for you, writes will be slower as it has to be replicated across zones, reads will have limits as there are other people in your cloud as well.

The reason they have huge IOPS is Git, 300 reads for every 10 writes, its massively inefficient at scale. Again don't mention that since its OSS and can do no wrong.

MS have created a virtual layer to fix this problem for large repositories https://gvfs.io/

No your anecdotal story about your use case does not mean it applies to larger use cases, just because you can walk to the shops does not mean you can run a ultra marathon, unless its an Open Source marathon of course.

GitLab is an old skool architecture where they are just renting servers, that will bring its own pain.

I like Go its a nice language to work with. OOS is not bad, neither is proprietary, its whatever you need to get the job done.

Who will fix our Internal Banking Mess? TSB hires IBM amid online banking woes


Want to be the new TSB Head of Infrastructure?

Job Posted


Current quality bar: Low


Re: not a customer

They are not a ffing corner shop.

If a Bank can't be trusted to handle your money responsibly it can cause things like bank runs. Bank runs can be contagious.

RBS was fined £56 million for a botched IT upgrade, so no the regulator doesn't like to chill either when avoidable crap happens.

TSB outage, day 5: What do you mean you can't log in? Our systems are up and running. Up and running, we say!


Re: TSB, legacy IT

They have just replaced that enormous system map with a new one, full of Service Buses, SOA, MicroServices and Containers (Docker). This will be even less documented as event type systems are very hard to reason about.

So its new, you can add new services quicker but is it better?

1. You have probably created more links, not less. With products you have to keep upgrading introducing who knows what issues in future.

2. The old system had known failures and all the main wrinkles stomped on over time, decades probably.

3. The new system has a whole new batch of failure modes, both in the scale, links and the logic some of which have yet to be found.

4. End to end testing now involves a mass of products that probably means a single developer will never see it in action, just a small piece.

The people there on the old system probably sat quietly, keeping the systems humming, to a foolish person it looks like they are doing nothing since the systems always work.

My take away, if you are going to replace decades of work, even with a huge head start of a running banking system, 24 months is not enough time, you need multiple end-to-end test environments with realistic load testing and you need real experts in the tech you will be using.


Re: Fungible software engineers...

This still surprises me. I've seen Oracle people put in to do a large SQL Server site, it didn't go well.

Its the same as saying look you fly an Airbus, just jump in that Boeing and do these runs for us please.

They are both planes, has a couple of engines, wings, steering wheel of some sort. I mean what's the problem.

The problem is its quite likely the plane would crash with all souls lost.

The regulators stop this with ratings, if you have not passed training in the type you cannot fly it. You can't even fly an A330 if you are rated on a A320.

That's why we have regulators and not PHB making these decisions.


Re: The Post-COBOL Apocalypse Has Arrived!

Actually given the information on other threads it seems like Proteo4UK is based on the Parents Proteo which is based on the Alnova banking systems which was a port of the Cobol version but retaining the Cobol syntax, so Cobol compiling to .NET using MicroFocus tools.

Any pro would have parsed the cobol and extracted the business logic, created a banking DSL and throwing away the god awful verbose Cobol syntax.

11 millions lines of code but easily 8 millions lines of framework crud.

That's actually probably the most stable part, the issue here seem to be the middleware and frontend services. All the new code basically.

Windrush immigration papers scandal is a big fat GDPR fail for UK.gov


Fail on many levels

Apart from the Operational need there is a historic element to this.

You can search more than 51 million passenger records for Ellis Island today. https://www.libertyellisfoundation.org/passenger.

They would have been paper and ledgers, now all digitised. A fantastic resource for people tracing their family tree.

Future generations will rue the loss of such a resource.


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